Saturday, November 07, 2009

Killing in the Name of God or Religion

Today's newspapers carried a disgusting news. A Major in the American Army killed twelve of his colleagues in a shooting spree. No, the news about killing or shooting was not disgusting. It is happening daily on a routine basis in some or other corner of the world. But the disgusting part was that before shooting innocent unsuspecting fellow men, the killer shouted "Allah Hu Akbar" which means "God is Great".

If we look into statistics, we will find that most of the present day killings are taking place in the name of God or religion. Though, no religion preaches enmity or hate against any fellow human being or even against any living being.

Why do killers invoke God before killing HIS creatures? Is it to obtain strength for doing such a ghastly act or do they ask for HIS forgiveness in advance. One can only remember God before killing someone if one is doing the act in cold blood. If the killing is the result of a heated exchange of blows or gun fire or any other weapon, there is no time for one to remember God.

Here we may argue that even the war cries in the battle fields are also after the names of God. That is true. For example, Indian Army infantry regiments are based on different regions, communities, religions or races as India has many of them. Their war cries are all based on the names of different gods or goddesses. A Dogra soldier will shout "Durga Mata Kee Jai" (hail goddess Durga) while running over an enemy post during final assault or while pushing his bayonet into the intestines of the enemy during close quarter battle. Similarly, the jawans from Sikh regiment will shout a war cry of "Jo Bole So Nihal, Sat Sri Akal" (One who utters it, remains blessed as the truth is immortal). And there are battle cries like "Har Har Maha Dev", "Jai Bajrang Bali" etc., etc. But such war cries are justified in a battle field where the enemy is equally heavily armed and if the soldiers don't kill the attacking enemy then they get killed themselves. Hence, there, the helping hand from God is very much necessary. However, having served in the Indian Army, i personally felt that the Indian soldiers, regardless of their religion or race, should shout "Bharat Mata Kee Jai" as their war cry. But then it is the name of God which provides them the killer instinct.

Gone are the days when the wars were fought for women (Sita and Helen of Troy), for wealth (invasions over India by Gaznavi and Gouri) or for kingdoms (no need for examples). The next major war will be fought in the name of religion or say, God (please mark my words). Personally i don't wish for that but one can't deny the fact that many of
such fights are already going on, though on a small scale, in many parts of the world.

Does being religious mean being intolerant of others?
Should we stop being religious if it is creating hate in our minds against our fellow human beings?

The question is open to all.


Smitha said...

You have raised such a pertinent point! Most killings are in the name of religion! Across the world.. I guess religion does evoke very strong sentiments among most people..

Z@ki-R said...

Disgusting indeed.... I was thinking about this incident and was getting more and more confused, frustrated. Could it be, the state failed to give enough motivation which their religion is providing?
Most of such killings take place in failed states but when a such incident involving a state like America, my above question become more relavent. (In case any of the readers have any doubt, I am for strongest punishment for any crime against human lives)

Anonymous said...

The next major war will be fought in the name of religion or say God (please mark my words).

I hope this doesn't come true. I feel it's only some groups of radicals who want violence - a vast majority wants peace. I hope we have leaders like Gandhiji instead of the present lot that is creating such terrible conflicts and divides everywhere.

Why can't people see what's happening? This incident sounds like a man with some mental problem. (In have not read the details yet)... what sane person would do such a thing? Nobody kills innocent people if they have any faith in God, these are acts of terrorists and psychopaths.

I also feel if everybody has jobs and food, we will see this madness coming down.

J P Joshi said...

This incident has actually shocked everyone in this part of the world, and around the globe. The gentleman involved was an Army Doctor, a Major, and a psychiatrist! He was a born US citizen, of Jordanian descent.

He used to treat soldiers coming from Iraq and Afghanistan with diagnoses of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. Wonder what went wrong?? This is really disturbing.

What you say is so true - cold blooded killing in the name of religion or God does not make sense. Bhagwad Gita though talks of banishing Adharma through killing the enemy on the battlefield. What is adharma? Is it an individual interpretation? or is it an interpretation by the government's in the modern sense - a soldier is just an instrument of state policy. Many questions - looking for answers.

shail said...

A very pertinent blog. I believed once that it is just those intolerant people who use religion for their own selfish reasons to fan the flame of hatred who are really at fault. But seeing that ordinary folk are so easily led by such people who use religion to create hatred, I now feel we should totally shake off the shackles of religion.

Reflections said...

Such a thought-provoking post!!!!

"Why do killers invoke God before killing HIS creatures?"
I'm sure here the killer 'convinces' himself that he is doing an act which God approves of & taking His name will sort of magically clear his name from the sin book;-/

Though I cant be too sure I feel no religion will ever tell u to kill or harm anybody.
Some twisted people make up their own meanings and explanations to suit their evil thoughts and then convince themselves tht God wants them. Its easier u see!!!

sm said...

we have to end the religion from this earth, only one religion should be there humanity to humans and towards animals.

Balvinder Singh said...

Smitha, religion evokes very strong sentiments but off late the experience has been that the sentiments act more towards negativty, resulting in generating hate rather than compassion towards the fellow human beings.

Zakir, the sad point here is that this incident took place in an very advanced civilization and that too the culprit was an educated Doctor treating soldiers who had served in Iraq and Afganistan.

IHM, yes, i am the last person to wish that any strife should take place in the world in the name of religion. But seeing the present trend we can read the writing on the wall.

JP, you are right, this incident has shocked the right thinking people the world over. I think the gap between dharma and adharma is vanishing and the confusuon is prevaling all over as far as definition of religion is concerned.

Shail you are so right. In fact we are getting more and more arrested by the shakles of religion which need to be shaken off. The earlier the better.

Nancy, yes the whole purpose of being religious has been so misintepreted that we are left with no choice but to hate being religious.

SM, that is absolutely right.The only religion in the world should be humanity. Is being human not enough for us ?